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Coach Luneau’s Story, Part I



From Syracuse University to Enosberg High School

 The Burlington Free Press is probably the largest newspaper in the state of Vermont. The following article is dated February 7, 2013, and shortly thereafter I published it on this blogspot. It is about Matt Luneau, who felt it was God´s will to leave his position as assistant coach of the Syracuse University girls’ basketball team, from which he traveled the world looking for recruits, and move back to his hometown in northern Vermont. I thought it worthwhile to present the article again, along with Matt’s personal account in his own words, eight years later.

 This is the first of four segments, which we will present. I invite you to read and enjoy one of God’s wonderful works, things that He is doing in our times. Matt and Ilze´s two oldest girls are young ladies now and the youngest, although I’m not sure of her exact age, must be approaching her teenage years. Ilze does basketball dribbling exhibitions, using up to six basketballs! Recently they visited Ilse’s homeland, Latvia, and have now returned to their home in Vermont. Once again, for those who haven´t read this story, allow me to introduce my friend Matt Luneau, who, along with his wife, Ilze, and family attend our son Dan's church in Swanton Vermont. Here is a story worth reading, about some people who feel it is more important to obey God, rather than men. Please follow it to the final segment...


 Luneau comes back to Vermont

Feb 7, 2013   |  


Written by


Free Press Correspondent

ENOSBURGMore than 20 years after he landed his first high school basketball coaching job at Richford High School, Matt Luneau’s career has come full circle, give or take a few miles.

After leaving the Richford job in the early 90s, Luneau embarked on a two-decade journey around the Northeast as a college assistant coach, including two years with the University of Vermont women’s basketball team and the last nine as an assistant for the Syracuse University women’s team.

This winter, Luneau returned to Franklin County as coach of the Enosburg High School boys basketball team.

For the Sheldon native and 1984 graduate of Missisquoi Valley Union in Swanton, the time was right to return to his roots.

“My wife Ilze and I have three girls (Iliana, 12; Marika, 10; and Evangelica, 4) and college coaching requires a lot of travel,” said Luneau, who worked with the low-post players at Syracuse in addition to “being on planes four days a week” for much of the year in his role as a primary recruiter.

“Kids grow up fast and I wasn’t willing to miss being there for them anymore,” said Luneau.

Once he decided to step off the college coaching carousel, Luneau said he toyed with the notion of remaining in western New York. Instead, he opted to raise his girls in northwestern Vermont.

Luneau worked his last day for Syracuse in August. A month later, he was living and teaching (and soon to be coaching) in Enosburg.

“I didn’t come back to Vermont with the intention of coaching, but I’m really enjoying working this group of young men,” said Luneau. “It’s been a great experience so far.”

Enosburg athletic director Chris Brigham said Luneau was the right man at the right time to help a program that lost its coach after reaching the Final Four last season.

Previous Hornet coach Steve Jette left the school last summer to pursue a job out of state, leaving an opening for a part-time physical education teacher and a varsity boys’ basketball coach.

“We were lucky to have a coach of his caliber available,” said Brigham. “He’s everything an athletic director could ask for in a coach. The kids love him. He’s getting the most out of them, on and off the court.”

Enosburg senior point guard Wyatt Larose said Luneau quickly earned players’ respect and despite some initial reservations, the level of accountability Luneau demands from his players has been embraced by the team.

“He expects a lot out of us,” said Larose. “It’s not just when we are at practice. We have to do study sessions and lift weights, too.”

“At first it was a little different,” said senior guard Brandon Gleason, the team’s leading scorer. “Guys were like, ‘Do we really have to do all of this?’ But it has helped us.”

On the court, the Hornets are 9-6 and riding a four-game win streak after Tuesday’s win over Peoples. Off the court, Brigham is more proud of a different record.

“We just had our marks come in at school and as a group, the team is averaging 90 percent in their classes. That’s remarkable,” said Brigham. “It says a lot about what Matt is instilling in these guys and it says a lot about the way the kids feel about him, too.”

(end of newspaper article)

Following are two emails from Matt. Eric Savoy is a boy Matt heard about, when he came to coach at Enosburgh. Eric was a good player, but he had a drug problem and had lost two years of basketball because of it. Matt went to see him and led him to the Lord. He helped him through some struggles and now Eric is on the team. The top scorer on the team, Brandon, has also come to Christ. Those are the only two so far. But read this:

 Matt’s first letter:

 Today myself, Chris Brigham the athletic director of Enosburgh, and Eric Savoy went to a meeting in Stowe to request a waiver so that Eric would be given an extra year of eligibility playing basketball for next year.  This was supposed to be Eric's last year of eligibility being four years in high school.  But because of his addiction with drugs he has not been able to play the last two years.   We presented Eric's story to 12 athletic directors and principals from all over the state so that they would hopefully grant him a hardship waiver.   I got to share Eric's story to all these leaders throughout the state, and I got real personal.   Chris spoke, and then Eric got to speak.   Then the committee all took turns asking us questions.   Eric and I left the meeting and headed back to Enosburg, while Chris stayed behind with other business matters.  

 Matt’s second letter:

 We had practice tonight, and Chris came to tell us that the committee granted Eric the extra year of eligibility.  Praise The Lord!   Chris said that they had a unanimous decision before Eric and I even got to our call.  He said they were just so impressed and amazed with his transformation.  They were looking at his transcripts, letters, and hearing us talk.  Chris was so excited about what the committee was saying.  He said all they talked about was how they thought great things were happening at Enosburg High School.   And God had Dan Marlow athletic director of BFA there as well and he was even selling Eric, and the boys’ basketball team.  It was just amazing.    We have been so amazed with everything that God has been doing through Eric, and now He reaches a group of educational leaders throughout the state through Eric, and now He gives Eric another year of eligibility to play basketball at the high school.   Another year I get to coach Eric.  And I get to see our AWESOME GOD at work!!





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